Over the weekend, I was privileged enough to see STRFKR in Pontiac, Michigan. Yes, I’m aware that they were playing at The Opera House just the day before on Saturday, but unfortunately that was a 19+ show so lo and behold, I packed my weekend bag, and headed off on a five hour trip to Pontiac.

strfkr1.lovethiscitytv (photo cred: Julia Ho)

The show was scheduled to start at 8:00pm, and although doors did not even open until a few minutes past that, most of us were too eager to even complain about the light drizzle that had begun to fall. Upon being ushered into the bar part of the venue, we had another little while to wait until doors opened for the actual staged area. Of course when the doors finally did open at almost half past 8, the crowd immediately rushed towards the front of the stage. My friends and I snagged a spot a couple rows back, and eventually (but slowly) squirmed to the front where the rest of the night consisted of me being pressed against the stage, not that I’m complaining.

The show opened with a one man band going by the name of Feelings who mentioned the show they had just played in Toronto, resulting in my lone cheer among a wave of “boos” from the rest of the audience. Playing music from a genre quite similar to that of STRFKR, his electro-pop-indie vibe and snarky sense of humor was well received by the crowd. Feelings played a song by the name of “Ich Lieb Sie”, which I found particularly interesting because it was in German, and anything in a foreign language is cool, right?
Small Black followed Feelings, and was the advertised guest for STRFKR. Although their genre was that of STRFKR’s as well, for me, their music lacked the type of energy and vibe that I look for in any type of synthesized music. I admit, I hadn’t previously listened to their stuff before, and perhaps it’d be something that would grow on me since I find a lot of this type of music to be an acquired taste.

strfkr.lovethiscitytv (photo cred: Julia Ho)

At around 10pm, the anticipated STRFKR finally graced us with their presence on stage and immediately opened with “Rawnald Gregory Erikson The Second” from their self-titled album. They followed with “While I’m Alive”, the first song on their latest album “Miracle Mile.” Playing a total of 23 songs, and 3 encores, the set list included much of their “Miracle Mile” work (besides the actual song titled “Miracle Mile”), while still incorporating their older songs. I was ecstatic when they played “Quality Time”, one of my favorite STRFKR songs, and they definitely did not fail in putting on a show as a bunch of people in animal costumes ran on stage, while streamers and balloons exploded everywhere, and a man dressed in a spacesuit crowd surfed through the frenzy. Soon after, they ended appropriately with “Nite Rite” without playing “Isabella of Castille” or “Death as a Fetish” to my disappointment, although they did play “Bury Us Alive”, another favorite, during the encore. Despite all the crazy action during the show, I noticed that none of the band members ever actually spoke to us like most artists tend to do, until the final songs where a measly goodnight was heard from the leading man, Joshua Hodges. Some might feel disconnected from the artists because of that, but I actually preferred the lack of cheesy “thank-you”s and silence fillers, as it lent itself quite well to soaking in the atmosphere without it being clouded by all my fan-girl emotions had they somehow acknowledged the audience in any sort of way. Not to say that I didn’t have those moments when I got some high-fives out of them, and when they posed for pictures with me after the show.

strfkr.juliaho.lovethiscitytv (photo cred: Julia Ho)

A fantastic night concluded when I finally got my hands on some coveted merchandise and started walking back towards my car after 4 hours of vigorous fist pumping and head swaying to some super dance-y beats. I definitely recommend going to a STRFKR show if you ever get a chance (or at least checking them out), because even if they don’t play your favorite songs, they still know how to put on a hell of a show.

By: Julia Ho